This weekend, the Tahana Compound in Neveh Tzedek, Tel Aviv, will host a Chocolate Festival in time for Valentine’s Day. The event in the picturesque compound will offer many activities for chocolate lovers of all ages, such as a presentation of eight large chocolate statues created for the festival, workshops and master classes with top pastry chefs, a chocolate spa area and, of course, many chocolate stalls, as well as other food and drink stalls.

A number of the top chocolatiers will be present at the event, and a few have offered us recipes you can make at home.

For more information about the festival, go to www.chocolatefestival.co.il.

CHOCOLATE AND GRANOLA BAR

Moshe Iskerik of the Joya Chocolate Boutique offers this energy chocolate bar, which is very easy to make.

✔ 250 gr. oats
✔ 70 gr. walnuts, chopped
✔ 3 Tbsp. sesame seeds
✔ 3 Tbsp. coconut flakes
✔ 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
✔ 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
✔ 100 gr. butter, melted
✔ 300 gr. milk chocolate

Heat oven to 150°.

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the chocolate.

Line a baking sheet and spread the mixture evenly on it. Bake for 30 minutes. Test to see if the oats are crisp enough. If not, return the mixture to the oven for a few more minutes.

Let cool and transfer back to the bowl.

Melt the chocolate and mix it in with the cooled oat mixture. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet. The layer should not be thicker than 1½ cm.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or let stand for 6 hours at room temperature.

When the chocolate hardens, cut into bars or squares.

VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Makes 4 Chocolatier Ronit Lev offers this easy chocolate dessert for vegans.

✔ ½ cup natural macadamia nuts
✔ 2 Tbsp. almond butter (or Shkedia)
✔ 120 gr. (1¼ cups) pitted dates
✔ 1 cup cocoa powder
✔ ¼ of a soft avocado
✔ ¾ cup water
✔ Pinch salt
✔ A little lemon juice
✔ Zest of 1 orange

Grind the nuts in a blender until it is paste-like. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for 5-10 minutes, until light.

If needed, add a little water. If not sweet enough to your taste, add a little silan, maple or agave syrup. The texture should not be too thick.

Pour mousse into serving cups and garnish with zest of lemon or orange, crushed pistachio or strawberries.

ORANGE TRUFFLES

Makes about 60 Karina Zaplinsky of De Karina makes these light and sumptuous truffles with fresh orange juice.

✔ 100 ml. 38% cream
✔ 50 ml. freshly squeezed orange juice
✔ Zest of 3 oranges. Use the orange peel only – the white part is bitter
✔ 20 ml. orange liqueur
✔ 300 gr. white chocolate
✔ 100 gr. dark cocoa powder (24% high-quality dark cocoa

Chop white chocolate into small bits. Boil together the cream and the orange juice and zest. Strain and pour over the white chocolate.

Wait 2 minutes and mix vigorously until smooth. Let the mixture (ganache) cool and add the liqueur. Mix well. While mixing, try to burst the air bubbles in the cream, making it lighter. Place the ganache in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Using a teaspoon, take small amounts of the ganache and roll with clean hands into small balls. Dip the balls in the cocoa powder until coated on all sides.

Variation: Dip the balls into dark-chocolate.

CHOCOLATE DROPS
Makes 60

Pastry chef Rosella Yona of the Biscotti Bakery likes baking large amounts. Bake these rich chocolate drops for a week of sweet love.

✔ 350 gr. bitter chocolate
✔ 50 gr. butter
✔ 3 eggs
✔ 100 gr. sugar
✔ Zest of 1 orange
✔ 50 gr. almond powder (ground almonds)
✔ 50 gr. flour
✔ 1 tsp. baking powder
✔ 100 gr. coconut flakes
✔ 200 gr. white sugar
✔ 200 gr. powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler. When mixed, set aside to cool. Meanwhile, beat together eggs and sugar until light. Add orange zest. Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture.

Sift together flour and baking powder. Mix in the almond flour and coconut flakes. Add the dry mixture into the chocolate mixture gradually, mixing to avoid lumps.

Line a baking sheet.

When completely cooled, use a pastry bag or two teaspoons to create small 3-cm. balls from the batter. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 190°.

Pour the white sugar into a deep soup plate and the powdered sugar into another.

Remove the balls from the freezer. Roll each ball in the white sugar and then in the powdered sugar until coated.

Arrange the balls on a lined baking sheet with 2-3 cm. between them. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the cookies crack.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.

The Chocolate Festival, today until Saturday. NIS 15 for adults; free for children under 12. For tickets and more information, go to www.tixwise.co.il/he/chocolatefestival.

Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.



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